Kavanagh: We’d like Ottawa Neighborhood Housing greater than ever

Kavanagh: We’d like Ottawa Neighborhood Housing greater than ever

Town’s Social Housing Registry waitlist has 12,000 individuals on it who qualify for rent-geared-to-income housing. Many will wait as much as a decade.

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In the course of the fall municipal election marketing campaign, reasonably priced housing was one of many essential points talked about by mayoral and council candidates. Our new mayor has made this one in all his priorities. Many individuals, and particularly younger households and seniors on a set earnings, are scuffling with the price of residing and housing. That is taking place throughout the province and the nation and Ottawa just isn’t immune to those challenges.

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As a proud board member of Ottawa Neighborhood Housing (OCH) since 2018 and now the chair of OCH, I perceive the significance of group/social housing. OCH gives actually reasonably priced housing to greater than 32,000 individuals. Any such housing is briefly provide. That’s the reason I’m happy to see such sturdy management from OCH in constructing greater than 900 new reasonably priced houses proper now, and having hundreds extra shovel-ready tasks. That is the kind of motion we’d like and it helps council get Ottawa’s fair proportion of funding for non-profit reasonably priced housing.

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Creating new, deeply reasonably priced housing items (i.e. rent-geared-to-income) must be carried out by non-profit companies. Ottawa Neighborhood Housing (OCH) is a number one non-profit housing supplier that has the capability, expertise and plan to construct these reasonably priced houses. The federal and provincial authorities share our aim of constructing housing reasonably priced for all, and I’m optimistic about collaboration.

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Unaffordable housing means paying greater than 30 per cent of family earnings on housing. This implies much less cash to pay for different core requirements comparable to transportation and the ever-increasing value of groceries. With the rise in inflation, our present financial atmosphere has solely additional exacerbated the dearth of reasonably priced housing and our housing disaster is reaching a tipping level. We’re additionally witnessing extra people experiencing homelessness, particularly throughout these chilly winter months — and never simply within the downtown core. To see this taking place throughout us is disturbing, to say the least.

For these presently residing in group/social housing, there’s a huge affordability hole to maneuver to personal market housing. Utilizing information between 2002 and 2022, the typical OCH lease for a two-bedroom unit was 76 per cent decrease than the typical market lease for the same apartment, and 46 per cent decrease than the CMHC-defined common market lease for an residence.

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Town’s Social Housing Registry waitlist has 12,000 individuals on it who qualify for rent-geared-to-income housing. Many on the registry can anticipate to attend as much as 10 years because of the lack of this housing, except for households in a life-threatening state of affairs, or different pressing circumstances. Our emergency shelters play an essential function for these experiencing homelessness and their work is commendable and important. However I believe we are able to all agree that shelters are supposed to be short-term options.

Now we have a collective accountability to construct extra supportive housing and extra non-profit reasonably priced housing, and to make sure our metropolis’s present group housing inventory is preserved.

Since most of its houses had been constructed within the Nineteen Sixties, OCH invests in capital repairs yearly. For 2023, OCH earmarked $59.4 million for capital repairs — nevertheless it additionally depends on funding by means of numerous federal and provincial funding streams to take care of and restore these houses.

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OCH’s new constructing at 811 Gladstone Ave., opened in 2020 with 140 reasonably priced houses together with three- and 4-bedrooms, is a rarity in downtown Ottawa. The development of 271 extra reasonably priced houses at 715 Mikinak Rd., is one other small however constructive step as we proceed, inch by inch, so as to add much-needed reasonably priced houses in our metropolis.

The Metropolis of Ottawa has declared a housing emergency, and a part of the answer is constructing extra reasonably priced houses for low-moderate earnings households. However how and when?

Non-profits comparable to OCH are doing this and may do extra. The time to construct once more is now. I stay up for working with the mayor, council and all ranges of presidency to get the job carried out. There isn’t any time to waste. Let’s get everybody a house.

Theresa Kavanagh is the town councillor for Bay Ward. She was not too long ago elected chair of Ottawa Neighborhood Housing Company.

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